Is it OK to bathe a dog with baby shampoo? Expert Advice

Can You Use Baby Shampoo on Dogs?

Baby shampoo, such as Johnson and Johnson, may be used on dogs. Baby shampoo is typically gentle and free from harsh and irritating ingredients. It also has the added benefit of being “tear free,” meaning it will not damage a dog’s eyes if a small amount is inadvertently splashed into them.

Every dog is an individual, and it is always possible for a dog to have an allergy to a shampoo, even human baby shampoo.

Is human shampoo safe for dogs?

While the shampoo that you use to wash your hair with might seem like a gentle and appealing option for your dog, human shampoo can actually be damaging to their coat and skin if used regularly. There are several critical differences between dog skin and human skin; these differences mean that the two species require different types of shampoo for the best results.

Human skin and canine skin differ significantly in pH (acidity). Sources vary, but human skin is acidic, with a pH of 4 to 6.0. Dogs, in contrast, have more alkaline (or basic) skin than this. Human shampoos are pH-balanced to work well on our acidic skin, while canine shampoos are pH-balanced for alkaline skin. Therefore, using human shampoo on your dog could negatively impact the pH of your dogs skin, leading to problems.

Dogs also have small amounts of natural oils in their coat, which keep their fur shiny and protect against potentially harmful bacteria and other microbes. Most human shampoos will strip these oils from your dogs coat. Human shampoos are designed to remove the large amounts of grease from our hair, so this will have quite a drying effect on your dog’s skin and coat.

Human shampoos also tend to be quite heavily perfumed, which could irritate your pet’s skin and overwhelm their sensitive sense of smell.

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Dog?

Is it OK to bathe a dog with baby shampoo?

Is baby shampoo safe for dogs? The short answer is no.

“Baby shampoo is formulated for babies and shouldn’t be used on dogs,” says Dr. Ellen Hirshberg, a veterinarian at The Humane Society of New York. She explains that under a vet’s direction, baby shampoo can sometimes be used on tiny puppies to treat fleas, but that is the only exception.

“People most likely think that if it’s a safe formula for babies then it’s probably also safe for puppies and kittens, but that’s not the case,” she says.

Is Baby Shampoo OK for dogs?

Baby shampoos might seem handy, especially if you ran out of dog shampoo and your dog has been a naughty boy and needs an immediate shower. But is it safe?

In my 12 years of veterinary practice, I had my share of dogs with dry, irritated skin. Some problems could be directly traced to the owner’s shampoo choices. If a pup parent were to ask me if baby shampoo is safe for dogs, I would take time to explain the difference between dog skin and hair and that of humans. I’d explain that even gentle baby shampoos are not specifically formulated for dog skin and long-term use can have damaging effects. Then I’d recommend the owner use a dog shampoo.

Dogs need products formulated specifically to match their skin and hair pH. Products made for humans will not suffice, but baby shampoos generally come closer to the right pH balance. It can be safe to use when you don’t have your normal product at home, but we don’t recommend it for regular use.

If you need to wash your dog with baby shampoo, pick a product that’s gentle and doesn’t include any irritating or toxic chemicals. There are some brands that contain natural ingredients and have a neutral pH. These can be used in emergencies. If you have no dog or baby shampoo at home, you may be able to make a dog-safe alternative from common household products. But after you deal with the immediate need, replenish your normal dog shampoo.